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Why will Ukraine remain in the black list of the Paris memorandum

Ivan Niiakyi, Vice-president of the Shipping Chamber of Ukraine
10 April 2019

In 2018 Ukraine turned out to be in the black list of the Paris memorandum on understanding related to control of vessels, having taken the 67th out of 73 places. This event serves as an evident signal on the situation in the shipping industry.

Briefly, placement of our country into the black list means that on vessels under the Ukrainian flag the fundamental international maritime conventions like MARPOL 73/78, SOLAS-74, STCW, as well as other international requirements in the area of shipping are not observed.

In each country, it is the Maritime administration who is responsible for observation of international agreements, and who directly or via authorized classification societies  carries out technical and conventional control over the vessels under its flag.

That is why the launch in 2018 of the Maritime administration, the functions whereof in different periods were performed by the various state structures, was perceived as one of the most important events in the shipping industry.

But the later events have shown that the Maritime administration was hardly created for the purpose of observation by Ukraine of the international obligations in the sphere of shipping.

Instead of a serious effort for reforms, which have been long overdue, next year the Maritime administration is likely going to force the Republic of Kongo from the latter’s convenient 73rd place.

Today the head of the Maritime administration Dmytro Petrenko facilitates the above process. The winner of the competition for the post has quickly gained fame of one of the most odious state managers in the shipping industry. Legal nihilism, absolute incompetency and inability to hear the surrounding people have resulted in the situation of the shipping industry being close to collapse, while a proud name “Maritime administration” has been reduced to a ridiculous MarAD (AD – a pun, means Hell).

Therefore, what particular actions are on our way preventing us from exiting from the black list of the Paris memorandum?

As of late, in the Ukrainian sea ports, at the same time with the existing harbour masters appointed by according to orders of the Ministry of Infrastructure pursuant to Art. 77 of MSC, there are also represented the “harbour masters”, appointed as per the order of the Maritime administration, following the results of the competition held by this very Maritime administration (!). Despite this evidently blatant violation of not only MSC but also of the Main law of the country, the Ministry of Infrastructure does not anyhow respond to what is happening, while the Minister vividly and proudly delivers mail to the villages of the Kyiv region. There’s only a hope that the competition will be declared as illegal by court – Shipping Chamber has already gone to court with a demand to repeal the results of the competition held.

At the beginning of March the Diploma & Passport departments of the ports’ administrations were disconnected from the electronic database of the Inspectorate on Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers which made it impossible to issue maritime documents. Later all blank documents were transferred to the main office of the SE “ASPU” and from there – to the Maritime administration.   

At the beginning of April the Diploma & Passport departments within the Maritime administration started issuing seamen the documents. And all the documents  are being signed by non-appointed harbour masters which automatically makes these documents illegitimate, so in the near future this state affair will bring our seamen many problems.

At the same time Maritime administration has abolished the majority of training centres, while the remaining centres became fully controlled by it both organization wise and financially. Besides that, at the beginning of the year the cost of services at all those centres has simultaneously become five times bigger (while formally the centres remain being run privately and the prices are not regulated by the state).

And at last – the launch by the Maritime administration of the state enterprise “Morrichservis” (Sea&RiverService) which offers sea agents to sign a contract (in the form of adhesion), according to which it will provide paid services of processing the arrival and departure of vessels. Along with this, according to Art, 78 of MSC (Merchant Shipping Code), processing of the arrival and departure of vessels is performed by a harbour master. Currently the Association of sea agents is preparing  letters addressed to the management of the Maritime administration and SE “Morrichservis” with a demand to stop violation of legislation.

All those facts taken together result in the loss by Ukraine of its reputation in the international market and bring about problems for the industry.

Maritime community feels betrayed. Ukraine has made a long way to creation of the Maritime administration which is necessary for any maritime country, and its creation was widely welcomed. However, appointment of a person with fake documents, without any work experience and any necessary qualification as manager has turned a great enthusiasm into a bitter disappointment.

There remains a hope that the squatters playing schemes will quit the state service and the industry will at last be run by the competent and integral managers. There is no doubt that in such a case in 2-3 years Ukraine will be able to get out of the infamous black list.

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